"May 23, 1541: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado
and the Teya Indians have a feast in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas
to celebrate his expedition's discovery of food supplies.
Many people consider this
to be the first true North American Thanksgiving.
Sept. 8, 1565: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
lands in St. Augustine and he and his men share a feast with the natives.
1578: The first North American celebration
of European harvest festivals is held in Newfoundland
by the Frobisher Expedition.
Dec. 4, 1619: 38 colonists from Berkeley Parish in England
land in Virginia and give thanks to God.
Dec. 11, 1620: The Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock.
Their first winter in the New World is hard
and their number of 102 is reduced to 56.
Fall 1621: The Pilgrims hold a three-day feast
to celebrate their first bountiful harvest.
They include 91 Indians in the festivities
to thank them for helping them with the harvest.
This is often cited as the first Thanksgiving.
1623: After a severe drought ends in heavy rainshowers,
the Pilgrims invite the Indians for another feast
to give thanks for the welcome rain.
June 20, 1676: The governing council of Charlestown, Massachusettes
holds a meeting to decide how to express thanks for their good fortune.
They proclaim June 29th as a day of thanksgiving.
June 29, 1676: The scheduled day of thanksgiving is celebrated.
Oct. 1777: All 13 colonies
participate in the thanksgiving celebration.
1789: After members of Congress request it,
George Washington declares that a national day of thanksgiving
will be held on November 26th.
...Nov. 1846: Sarah Hale, now the editor of Godey's Lady's Book,
begins a letter-writing campaign
to have the last Thursday in November
named national Thanksgiving Day.
Sept. 28, 1863: During the Civil War,
Sarah Hale sends a letter to President Abraham Lincoln
asking him to proclaim a national Thanksgiving Day.
Oct. 3, 1863: In the midst of the Civil War,
President Lincoln proclaims a national Thanksgiving Day
on the last Thursday in November.
The proclamation reads, in part:
"...care all those who have become widows, orphans,
mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife
in which we are unavoidably engaged...
Aug. 1939: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
declares the second-to-last Thursday in November
to be Thanksgiving Day
instead of the last Thursday in the month.
This is done to benefit retailers
by extending the Christmas shopping season by one week
as the holiday season officially starts
the day after Thanksgiving.
1941: President Roosevelt signs legislation [after national date confusion]
to reestablish Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November,
but it doesn't take effect until 1942.
Thanksgiving Eve, 1947: President Truman pardons a turkey
that is marked for Thanksgiving dinner in the White House.
Thanksgiving Day, 1956: The first television broadcast
of the Thanksgiving Day football game."